KY Policy Blog

What You Need to Know About the AHCA’s Harmful Effects on Kentucky

By Jason Bailey
March 24, 2017

House leaders say they will take a do-or-die vote Friday on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their proposal would dramatically reduce the number of Kentuckians with health coverage, make plans more expensive for those buying insurance through the marketplace and shift billions of dollars to the Kentucky state budget — all while providing large tax cuts to millionaires.

Here are KCEP’s resources on the impacts in Kentucky:

The plan would drive up the cost for people buying insurance through the marketplace by reducing tax credits for many people and raising out of pocket expenses — an average cost increase of $1,804 for Kentuckians and much more for older people.

By ending enhanced funding for the Medicaid expansion and placing a cap on traditional Medicaid funding that will squeeze the program in the future, the plan would shift $16 billion in costs to Kentucky’s state budget over a ten year period — inevitably leading to big cuts in enrollment and benefits.

The plan provides big tax cuts to millionaires, and Kentucky has less than half the US average of wealthy people who would even receive a tax cut — even while the state has among the most to lose from people becoming uninsured.

Despite claims from some political leaders that Kentucky’s coverage gains were not met with access to care and better health, new reports and recent data show Kentuckians are getting needed preventive care and health indicators are already improving.

Kentucky has 3 of the 25 congressional districts with the most to lose from repeal of the Affordable Care Act, with Representative Hal Rogers’ district ranked third of all 435 districts. As detailed in these fact sheets, every district in the state will be harmed by the AHCA.

The ACA is playing a key role in helping combat Kentucky’s raging opioid epidemic, but the House plan would roll back opportunities for treatment by reducing the number of people covered and eliminating substance abuse treatment as an essential health benefit.

The House plan would especially reduce coverage and affordability for older adults in Kentucky, including those seeking to buy coverage in the marketplace and those covered by Medicaid.

Our summary of the bill: it would unravel Kentucky’s highly successful Medicaid expansion, end Medicaid as we know it and raise costs for people buying insurance.

Nearly one in three Kentuckians has health insurance either through Medicaid or the marketplace, and the share reaches as high as 68 percent in one rural Kentucky county. Medicaid especially provides access to coverage and boosts local economies, and cutting and capping the program would be devastating to Kentucky’s health and economic well-being.

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